UK online sales hit record levels in Black Friday boom

Online sales rose from 25.3% of all non-food sales in November 2015 to 27.6% of all non-food sales in November 2016

Boosted by Black Friday, November saw record online sales of non-food products in the UK, as they grew 10.9% on the previous year, according to research from the British Retail Consortium and KPMG.

This was the third consecutive month of growth, with online sales of non-food products in the UK growing 10.7% year-on-year over the three months to November, while non-food sales increased by 1.7%.

Online sales accounted for 27.6% of all non-food sales in the UK during November 2016, compared to 25.3% in November 2015. This is the highest non-food penetration rate recorded and the 11th consecutive month above 20%.

Online sales also contributed 2.8% to the year-on-year growth of total non-food sales over the three months to November. Over the same period, in-store sales fell by 0.8%, making a negative contribution of 1.1%.

With retailers set to be hit by a surge in Black Friday returns, they have been advised to prepare accordingly and develop a good returns policy.

Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of British Retail Consortium, commented: “With discounts on electricals being the key feature of Black Friday sales, it is unsurprising that the other non- food category, in which consumer electronics sit, contributed the most to growth in November.

“It was the beauty and toy categories which topped the growth rankings, as customers took advantage of the pre-Christmas discounts for gift purchases.”

Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, added: “Retailers now face the challenge of processing the inevitable returns following the surge in sales, all too easily overlooked amidst the excitement of Black Friday. The pressure then turns to ensuring deliveries will make it under the Christmas tree in time.”

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